Dell’s Dedupe Play

Until three weeks ago, few people outside corporate data centers knew much about deduplication technology, which makes data storage more efficient by culling repetitive documents. That changed when data storage companies NetApp (NTAP) and EMC (EMC) got into a bidding war last month for a leading provider of the heretofore obscure software.

Their target is Data Domain (DDUP), for which EMC is offering $30 a share and NetApp $25 a share. While the clash surprised people who don’t know about the technology, it was no shock for Darren Thomas, who heads Dell’s (DELL) data storage division. “We always knew” that deduplication was hot, he says.

This week, Dell jumped into the fray when it announced a new deduplication box that combines technology from software maker CommVault (CVLT) with Dell hardware. The new product – along with new deduplication services that Dell is offering – may give a hint into the company’s M&A strategy, which has been taking shape in recent months.

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